Release Agric. Budget Allocation on Time to Enhance Food Security — Group Charges Kogi

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By Noah Ocheni, Lokoja

The Chairman of the Budget Committee Group (BCG),Comrade Matthias Okpanachi on Thursday in Lokoja called on Kogi state government to always release agriculture budgetary funds on Time to enhance food security in the state.

Comrade Okpanachi made the call at a press conference organised by
Small Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON) and Kogi State Budget Committee Group (BCG) supported by ActionAid Nigeria held at the Youth and Women’s Health Initiative, Lokoja.

He stressed the need to review existing policies and framework on agriculture to reviews existing policies and initiate a comprehensive policy framework that incorporates the change agenda of the administration which will provide a good anchor and basis for budget formulation and implementation.

“While we commend the allocation of huge sum once again in the 2024 budget, the allocations might make no difference, if funds are not released.”

The committee observef that the 2024 Agriculture budget for Kogi State is 3.37% of the total State Budget, which is still a far cry from the 10% benchmark of the Maputo Declaration.

“This is the third lowest percentage allocation to agricultural sector in Kogi state since 2016 and goes to show the non-commitment of the state to the development of the agriculture sector.”

“Based on a 2.3% growth rate of the 2006 population census, Kogi population 2024 projected population is 4,666,200. With an estimated allocation of N8,691,408,908 to the agriculture sector, the per capita investment will amount to N1,862.63.”

“This is a 13% drop in per capital spending in the agriculture sector over the 2023 figures. Again, it points to poor appreciation of the importance of the sector in the State development and poverty reduction.”

Kogi State Government should urgently increase the allocation for purchase of Farm inputs such as Organic fertilizers, improved seedlings and chemicals and subsidize same for farmers across the state.

He stressed the need for the State House of Assembly Committee on Agriculture to enhance its oversight functions and mandate over the management of public funds in the sector to guarantee greater value for money and ensure the total and timely releases of funds allocated.

“Smallholder women farmers and Civil Society Organizations needs to be involved and participate in the sector’s budget preparation, approval, monitoring and evaluation processes.”

Comrade Okpanachi therefore called on the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to create a forum for consultation as part of the budget preparation processes by organizing a stakeholders consultative meeting on the budget before budget call for circulars.

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